Photo by ValentinaPhotos/Thinkstock
Have you ever woken from a dream and couldn’t quite remember what it was about? Denver-based poet Mathias Svalina has a unique solution: his Dream Delivery Service. An award-winning author of five poetry books, Svalina began offering this subscription-based service two years ago in his home city. After garnering success, he is taking his show on the road and will be offering the service in Richmond Sept. 25-Oct. 25.
Subscribers receive a new, unique, surrealist prose-poem in the mail every day. And while poems are delivered on Sundays as well, that poem is the same for everyone, offering a brief creative break for Svalina. He hand-delivers the poems himself via bike within a certain radius of the city, and for those further out receive the works through the mail when postal delivery resumes on Mondays.
Svalina says recipients can expect “a slightly unexpected angle to their day, where they receive this curious narrative that is [somehow] directed at them, even if I have no idea who they are.”
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A sample poem from the Dream Delivery Service (Photo courtesy Mathias Svalina)
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A sample nightmare poem from the Dream Delivery Service (Photo courtesy Mathias Svalina)
To keep a manageable workload, Svalina accepts about 40 subscribers per month. And for those doing the math, he is indeed writing 1,084 dreamlike poems each month. So how does he accomplish it? He keeps a notebook filled with ideas that come to him throughout his everyday wanderings, and he constantly takes notes about things he sees to help fuel his imagination for the next poem. “Once I’m in that writing zone, there’s kind of no shortage of ideas,” he says.
The monthly fee is $40 (hand-delivered) or $55 (by mail). And for a few dollars more ($43.75 hand-delivered or $58.75 by mail), Svalina offers nightmares. He says he initially made the offer as a joke, but found that people were really interested in receiving nightmare-based poems.
Richmonders will only be able to take advantage of the hand-delivery service while Svalina is in town, but customers may continue to subscribe and receive poems via postal mail.
Svalina chose the Richmond area as the first stop on his Dream Delivery Service tour because he has lived here before, while obtaining his Master of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. “I love Richmond, and I miss it,” he says.
After Richmond, Svalina will hit Tucson, Arizona; Marfa, Texas; New Orleans; and Chicago. He says he is avoiding overcrowded cities such as New York and Los Angeles, opting instead for cities with a community vibe — “cities that I would enjoy hanging out on a porch with my friends in,” he says.
For Svalina, who, in addition to his five poetry books, is also the editor of a small press, Octopus Books, the Dream Delivery Service is his dream job and he hopes it grows in popularity.
“I have a weirdly productive imagination, so doing this project sticks everything I love the most together. I get to write all day long, I get to bike and I get to be really strange without consequence,” Svalina says, laughing.
Visit dreamdeliveryservice.tumblr.com for more information and to subscribe.